Uruguay – A Place Called Home
By Tamela Spicer
EW Emma’s Writings
Montevideo, Uruguay-Tucked beneath Brazil on the South American continent, Uruguay is a country filled with vast ranches, hundreds of miles of beautiful beaches, amazing boutique vineyards, and a large metropolitan city that offers all the culture you might find in New York City, but with the warmth of a Midwestern community. I visited Uruguay for the first time in 1980, living in the capital of Montevideo for one month and in the northern city of Salto for three months. It would be years before another visit in 2008.
My connection to Uruguay began during my junior year of high school when my family hosted an exchange student, Adriana. After high school I spent four months living in Uruguay with Adriana’s family and it has been a second home ever since. Today, technology makes it easy to stay in touch, but there is nothing quite like going home for a visit, especially for a special occasion. It was the wedding of Adriana’s son that prompted my most recent trip to Uruguay, in December 2014. While wedding festivities provided plenty of time to catch up with family and friends, I was also struck by the changes in the country since my first visit nearly 35 years ago.
Most Americans have never heard of Uruguay, and if they have it may seem like a third world country. When I made my first visit there in 1980, it felt a bit third world, well at least old fashioned. I remember the milk man leaving the old-fashioned jars on the front stoop and while there was television, it was still black-and-white and only broadcast a few hours each day. It was a simple life that seemed unspoiled, but then 35 years ago everything seemed simpler.
Today Uruguay is a sophisticated and stable country that offers every modern convenience needed. The cell coverage in Uruguay is some of the best in South America. Comcast or Dish Network digital service is easily accessible and you can find Internet in any major hotel and several restaurants. Yet, even in the cosmopolitan capital, Montevideo, there is a peaceful pace of life and a sense that family is deeply cherished.
Montevideo is home to just over half the total population in this small country. The city sits along the beautiful shore of the Atlantic Ocean with the Rio de la Plata spilling in. Summer days are often spent at the beach and nightlife abounds along the Rambla, the coastal walkway with beautiful views, exercise stations and wide walkways. Uruguayan nightlife usually doesn’t start until around 10 pm and often lasts well into the wee hours of the morning. There are plenty of night clubs, casinos and restaurants of choice in the city, including tango dinner clubs and seafood by the sea.
To be continued
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